BY TOBY PORTER
Britain’s greatest writer, William Shakespeare, showed how much he valued books in his last play, The Tempest.
The forlorn sorcerer Prospero, marooned on an island, talks of his library wistfully.
“Knowing I lov’d my books, he furnish’d me from mine own library with volumes that I prize above my dukedom,” he said.
Two of Britain’s greatest actors, Prunella Scales and Timothy West, gave pupils a flavour of the value of reading last week.
The couple helped pupils launch an appeal for £15,000 worth of books for their new library. St John the Baptist Primary School in Beachborough Road, Downham is reaching out to all its ex-pupils and friends.
The Alfred and Peggy Harvey Charitable has provided the school with funds to build its first library – but the budget does not include cash to replace its very old stock of books.
The staff and families at the school hope to raise at least £15,000 to fully stock the new library with beautiful books through a Just Giving webpage.
A £10 donation will pay for a new book with a book plate inside acknowledging the donor.
A £20 donation will pay for two books and an invite to the launch celebration.
A donation of £30 will fund three books and the donor will get an invite to the launch and receive a free copy of the school’s poetry book. A £50 donation will mean you also get your donation acknowledged in the school poetry book and on the school’s website.
For £500, individuals and companies will be able to sponsor a “shelf” which will have a brass plaque acknowledging the sponsor.
Scales and West, who have been married for 55 years, delighted the children with readings from Shakespeare and a range of children’s literature.
The children responded by reciting the works of Edward Lear and Walter de la Mare.
Local MP, Heidi Alexander, also shared a passage from Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach.
The Dean of Southwark Cathedral, the Reverend Andrew Nunn, shared a published story about Dawkins, the cat that lives in the cathedral.
Headteacher John Goodey said: “We want to reach out to our past pupils and families. I am sure there are many that would like to give something back that would really make a difference.”
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